NHL Puck-Line Power Poll as of 1/29/14


Bet at 5dimesAnyone can easily look up who the best teams are in terms of wins and losses in the NHL, but the really successful NHL betting fans are the ones who analyze every aspect of the game. Today, we’re going to look at the puck-lines for the hottest and the coldest teams in the NHL through games completed on 1/29/14.

Who’s Hot

1: Tampa Bay Lightning (32-21, +$1,668) – The Lightning went 3-3 against the puck-line in the last two weeks which was good enough to keep their money going in the right direction. Tampa Bay G Ben Bishop has continued to take care of opponents between the pipes, since returning from injury he has won three of his L/4 starts. The offense has been led by RW Martin St. Louis who had an incredible four goal game against the San Jose Sharks and has put up seven points in his L/5 games. Though Tampa Bay has been without its superstar C Steven Stamkos, they expect to see him back on the ice for a couple of games before he heads off to Sochi for the Olympics. In the next few days the Lightning will take road trips to face the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens before capping the trip against the Minnesota Wild. Also included in their next five games are a pair of home games with the Detroit Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs who are near the bottom in puck-line standings.

2: Winnipeg Jets (34-21, +1,502) – The Jets moved up two spots this week hopping over the Pittsburgh Penguins and the St. Louis Blues in puck-line standings. A 4-3 puck-line mark in this period helped Winnipeg get its stock to rise near that of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jets G Ondrej Pavelec has been on fire of late winning five of his L/7 starts and the two losses were only by one goal each. Pavelec’s 2.28 GAA in that period has given his team’s offense a chance in every game and they have taken advantage of it. That offense has been led by the efforts of C Mark Scheifele and his eight points in his L/8 games. The Jets did get shutout against the San Jose Sharks, but quickly rebounded with an emphatic puck-line cover 3-1 over the Chicago Blackhawks. Their puck-line standings figure to continue to go in the right direction with a next five games schedule that features games against the Montreal Canadiens (No. 20 puck-line), Vancouver Canucks (No. 21 puck-line), and the Washington Capitals (No. 27 puck-line).

3: Pittsburgh Penguins (25-28, +$1,466) – The Penguins keep putting up .500 marks in puck-line just about every time we update these standings and it is enough to keep them in the top three this week. This team just continues to put goals on the board in bunches as they followed up a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens with a 6-4 win against the New York Islanders on back-to-back nights. Yes, that’s 11 goals in a 24 hour period and there was a plane ride in between games. It’s a challenge to find too many goals that Pittsburgh has scored without either C Evgeni Malkin or C Sidney Crosby’s name on the score sheet. In those two games alone, Malkin put up three points while Crosby added four points with both of them scoring two goals each in that period. Paired with that offensive success is the play of G Marc-Andre Fleury who got his NHL leading 29th win of the season in a shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. That was also Fleury’s fourth shutout of the year. The Pens are loaded with experienced talent that should allow them to stay in these standings throughout the entire season.

4: Columbus Blue Jackets (33-20, +$1,261) – A 6-4 puck-line mark in their L/10 games has allowed the Blue Jackets into the top five on our “Who’s Hot” list this week. Even though this team is riding a three game losing streak right now, Columbus’ ability to score the puck is the reason it has climbed up the puck-line rankings. It is the defensive side and goaltending that must step up for this team to get back in the win column. In the last three outings the Blue Jackets goalies have combined to give up 11 goals and the offense that scored twice in each game was left out in the cold. Challenges definitely lay ahead for Columbus in its next five games where it will be matched up with a couple of the puck-line’s top 10 teams when it faces the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks in back-to-back games. This team will struggle to stay hot and keep its spot it will be interesting to see how the Blue Jackets handle the next two weeks of games. The key will be for the goaltenders to stop the puck and give the offense a chance every night.

5: St. Louis Blues (25-27, +$1,146) – The Blues are one of the best teams in the NHL at 36-11-5 SU, but like so many good teams, they struggle to cover puck-lines more often than not. The strength of this team has been coming out on top in games decided by one goal or in overtime and shootout scenarios. For instance, they got a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders last Saturday after having beaten the New York Rangers 2-1 on Thursday night. The timely goaltending of Jaroslav Halak has aided this team immensely of late. He has given up just four goals in his L/3 starts including a 3-0 shutout win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Blues LW Alexander Steen has led the offense registering 10 points in his L/10 games including three goals in his L/4. St. Louis has the Boston Bruins nipping at its heels in this week’s No. 5 position, the Blues will have to stay hot if they want to keep their spot in two weeks.

Who’s Not

30: Edmonton Oilers (27-28, -$1,925) – The Oilers are trying extremely hard to get out of our cellar, but they still haven’t quite gotten there. Five straight puck-line covers for Edmonton wasn’t enough to get them to No. 29 on this list no matter how impressed we happen to be with their efforts. Why are we so impressed? Well, two of those covers were a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday and a 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Sunday. We get that the Canucks and Preds aren’t exactly the class of the Western Conference, but with just 17 SU wins on the year the Oilers will take any admiration from us at this point. Oilers LW Taylor Hall has been the straw stirring the drink for his team lately putting up six points in his L/5 games that has kept this team very close to breaking out of the dumps. It will be quite the uphill climb for Edmonton in their next five games with four coming on the road, but the good news is the Oilers have covered their last two road contests.

29: Nashville Predators (27-28, -$1,758) – The Predators staved off a trip back to the cellar over the last couple of weeks putting up a 4-3 record against the puck-line. Nashville not only covered the puck-line on Tuesday on the road against the Winnipeg Jets, it got a 4-3 win behind a balanced offensive attack. A late power play goal from C Mike Fisher proved to be the difference in what has to be called an upset win for the Preds. This team has the No. 6 power play in all of the NHL scoring 20.8 percent of the time and that has paid off lately. A late power play goal also proved to be a game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately for the Preds, we can’t say the same about a penalty kill unit that is 23rd in the league only killing 79.8 percent of the time. If Nashville is going to stay hot on the puck-line, the biggest thing it needs to change is committing less penalties and killing them better when they commit them. If not, we may find them in the cellar again very soon.

28: <ahref=”http://www.bangthebook.com/picks/wagertools/teamdetails/league/NHL/TeamId/9/”>Detroit Red Wings (20-33, -$1,581) – The Red Wings backtracked on our “Who’s Not” list this week, but showed some promise covering four of their L/7 puck-lines. However, Tuesday night saw Detroit get throttled 5-0 on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers. Red Wings G Jonas Gustavsson took the loss saving just 23 of the 28 shots he faced in the game. It was the first time of the week Detroit failed to score at least four goals in a game. Before Tuesday’s setback the Red Wings had gotten a 5-4 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks and a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens earlier in the week. Detroit will need to quickly rebound from the shutout as it faces the Washington Capitals in a home-and-home this week and it will have a chance to climb up a few spots if it can get a couple wins. The Red Wings lost LW Henrik Zetterberg who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury. Zetterberg will hopefully return Friday against the Capitals to continue a tear where he has scored eight points in his L/4 games.

27: Washington Capitals (23-30, -$1,578) – The Capitals have only covered two of their last six puck-lines to land on the “Who’s Not” list this week. A 5-4 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres was not enough to cover the puck-line on Tuesday as the Caps got two goals from RW Alexander Ovechkin. It has been a good L/3 games for Ovechkin who has put up eight points in that stretch. Washington will have its chance to improve puck-line standings if it can get wins in back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings coming up. Before winning their last two games SU, the Capitals had suffered through a horrible seven game losing streak in which they only scored eight goals. The Caps have gotten their offense going a little scoring 10 goals in the L/2 games that were wins. To stay in the win column the offense will need to continue to come along for the ride. It will help them considerably to get C Mikhail Grabovski back very soon, he is questionable for Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after missing the L/2 games with a knee injury.

26: <ahref=”http://www.bangthebook.com/picks/wagertools/teamdetails/league/NHL/TeamId/30/”>Minnesota Wild (25-30, -$1,534) – The Wild advanced two spots on the list this week after going 4-2 on the puck-line in the last two weeks. Minnesota got a huge 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday becoming just the second team to beat Anaheim in regulation on its home ice this season. That is big news for a team that has struggled on the road all year long to this point. This team is trying to replace G Josh Harding who we consider the best goalie in the league with a 1.66 GAA, but he has been out as he continues his fight with MS. Wild G Darcy Kuemper has given it his best shot putting up a 2.26 GAA in the 10 games he has started in place of Harding. His 6-3-1 record has helped this team stay in games and get big wins like the one in Anaheim where he made 33 saves on 35 shots. Minnesota RW Jason Pominville has led the offense with four points in his last three games including a goal and an assist against the Ducks. The Wild have a great chance to get off this list in their next five games that includes just one game against a top five puck-line team.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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